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  • Writer's pictureBeans van Zyl

Cooking with Fabio Daniel, Head Chef at Rust en Vrede Restaurant

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

Chef Fabio Daniel is one of those people who you meet and you’ll never forget. He touches everyone's lives with his passionate spirit, enthusiasm for life and of course with his amazing creativity in the kitchen.

With his Italian-Brazilian roots, Fabio teaches me how to make the most delicious gluten free gnocchi with three delectable sauces. I love that these three dishes are easy enough for anyone to make at home, and will please the fussiest of eaters. We had so much fun cooking, learning, laughing & creating together. It really is such an honour to learn from Fabio, a true master in his skill.

Fabio and I met many years ago when I worked at the Rust en Vrede tasting room. He had just started working in the fine dining restaurant, under David Higgs. Working his way up the ladder until he became the Head Chef, without any formal training. Now that takes skill! One can taste all the incredible flavours, textures and dishes that have been inspired by his extensive travels and heritage.


1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Onion

1 Clove of Garlic

Handful of chopped Thyme

1/2 Cup of Red Wine

500 ml Tomatoes

60g Potato Flour plus extra for dusting work surface when rolling

1 Egg and 1 additional egg yolk

80g Grated Parmesan plus extra for garnish


150g Potatoes

12 Aspatagus Spears

Pinch of Salt

Balsamic Vinegar to taste

Black Kalamata Olives for serving

Cold Pickle: 100G Sugar, 100ml Water, 70ml Vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the Olive oil, Onion, Garlic and Thyme in a pot and simmer for about a minute until soft.

2. Add the wine and reduce for about three minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and simmer for one hour. Add some salt to taste. While the sauce is simmering, bake potatoes skin-on in the oven for 1 hour until soft.

4. Blanch the asparagus in salted water for 1 1/2 minutes and plunge in ice bath. Take four of the asparagus and shave with a peeler. Place the shaved asparagus in a cold pickle in the fridge till ready to serve.

5. Peel the potatoes and mash quickly. Be careful not to mash too long as the potatoes can become stringy or gloopy.

6. Add in rest of the ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until it is just combined to avoid the gnocchi becoming too heavy.

7. Dust work surface with potato flower and divide into thirds. Roll the thirds into a long snakes and cut into 1,5 cm pieces.

8. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil, drop in the gnocchi and cook for three to five minutes or until gnocchi rises to the top. Scoop gnocchi out with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl with a light coating of olive oil.

9. Heat a pan to medium heat with olive oil and shallow fry the gnocchi until they get some colour and flip. Brown the second side.

10. Finish the tomato sauce with balsamic vinegar and mix in a food processor until smooth.

11. Serve the gnocchi with two asparagus spears per plate and the tomato sauce. Garnish with some Parmesan, asparagus shavings and olives to taste.

I can’t wait to make this gluten-free gnocchi for my family! If you make it, please tag me as I would love to see your creations.

With restaurants opening again this week, Rust en Vrede should definitely be at the top of your list! They offer a winemakers lunch with two options: the best Chalmar Sirloin Steak or Norwegian Salmon along with their Incredibles wines.

For dinner at the fine dining restaurant, you can choose between a Four Course Menu, Six Course Menu, Six Course with Wine Pairing or the Estate Experience Menu.

It is well worth it!

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